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'We're Dying Like Flies': Sick, Retired Coal Miners Betrayed by GOP Senators

'We're Dying Like Flies': Sick, Retired Coal Miners Betrayed by GOP Senators

Nika Knight, staff writer

"The country must not turn its back on coal miners," right-wing Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell told constituents in eastern Kentucky last week.

Yet coal miners—many "facing a slow death" from black lung and other deadly illnesses from a lifetime of mining coal—say that McConnell and other Senate Republicans are doing exactly that, the Associated Press reports.


No skin off her ass to call for a vote that she knows won’t be allowed. As for McConnell, he along with others of his ilk should be arrested, jailed, and tried for treason for hamstringing the federal government and depriving its citizens of the programs they desperately deserve including a truly affordable healthcare plan and an ongoing domestic jobs program to put people like his constituents to work for the benefit of the collective nation, not his pecuniary enablers.


“The country must not turn its back on coal miners,”: Agreed so let’s hire them all to work for clean, renewable energy and pass single-payer health care.

Want to go the extra mile? Here is a link to Kentucky newspapers so write a letter to the editor to support these miners, those who are ill and those who still work in the mines.



If they voted for Republican politicians, they get NO sympathy from me


Every day a new corruption scheme is uncovered. Is there no part of this country not completely corrupted? We’re already a third world country, we just don’t know it yet.


Republicans treat our Coal Miners the same way they treat our Veterans and others in similar jobs/services. When their job is done just them under the bus. Their intent is so obvious, pretty much minimal research is needed to see where they really stand for these people. It is about the industry not the people in the dark mines. Sad thing is history has shown these people vote against their own best well being…


You wouldn’t think it possible to turn your back on someone, and piss on them at the same time, would you?


After being gassed by the Germans in Austria during World War One my grandfather immigrated to Pittsburgh PA and pursued his trade as a blacksmith for a mining company. Within a decade, in 1934, his doctor told him that he was developing black lung, so he moved his family post haste to California where he went through many therapies and lived to age 72 when the Germans’ mustard gas finally did his kidneys in. With the medical community knowning about this for at least 82 years, what has been done about it ?


These two sentences mark the major policy difference between the two major candidates. When HRC says anything on an issue, it is specific and knowledgeable. DJT has claimed to support “coal,” but with classic vagueness, including whether he’s with the workers (who clearly assume he is) or the mine owners.


as a veteran, this is so totally true. But the betrayal as such extends to a philsophical opposition to the idea of state support for any disabled person. old school republicans cared a little, but insisted that this kind of care had to be provided by acts of charity. A woeful response, obviously, but better than this new breed of neoliberal that opposes support for the vulnerable on the grounds that it’s wasted money–that is, capital that can’t be used to enrich the already rich. This is just heartless.


Don’t go blaming this mess on women!


Oh, they’ve known about black lung since long before your grandfather. I never met my maternal grandfather, who worked the seams of southeastern Ohio — and walked about to do other short-term jobs, such as making brake shoes (asbestos) and stirring open vats of early plastics (everybody’s guess) to feed his wife and 7 children through the Great Depression. When Mother was herself dying of pancreatic cancer (common among the children of coal miners) and told me his history, I asked, “How could he have not died young of lung cancer?!”

Grandfather Vane’s father, also a coal miner, managed to avoid it and live to 101. I don’t know about Grandma’s father, who immigrated from Italy as a callow youth in the late 19th c, probably as a scab. But it’s known that the striking miners didn’t hold the scabs’ desperation against them, and the family story goes that he stayed and became a citizen because he so admired the strength of the unions here. He did survive one wife and father a whole 2nd family. Vane and Rose kept their 4 sons out of the mines. All but 2 of their children (yes, daughters) completed college, one on a football scholarship and the others on their intellect alone. Two of them became teachers.

I am so ashamed of my country’s shortsightedness about finite resources, and about the infinite resources of those who give their lives to extract the others.


Both. S 1714, according to the official summary, “amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to address potential shortages in the Multiemployer Health Benefit Plan for payment of health care benefits to retired coal miners by expanding the eligible uses of interest transferable to such plan from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, and supplemental payments from the General Fund of the Treasury.”


My thoughts exactly, most of these poor undereducated folks probably did vote for the same corrupt empty suit Repugnicans who are now gleefully throwing them under the bus for a fist full of dollars. Here in the Florida Panhandle you can witness the same sad ignorance of the voters who continue to vote for snakes like Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, et. al. who deprive them of basic services like health care, education and decent jobs all because they don’t want the liberals taking away their guns or allowing women to make decisions about their own bodies, etc. Sad!


Nope. Read her statement carefully. She is calling for a vote on the issue. She is in no way supporting the act. A real snake she, calling for McConnell to do something she knows damn well he won’t do. And people buy into her blather like they think she means things. There’s no evidence she will support anything aimed at benefiting workers at any level. America’s premier corporate shill, and a dangerous one at that.


Your quarrel seems to be with the OP writer, not with me. Maybe you need to find more of the actual statement and quote it here. My point, about specificity, stands.

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I guess these miners have not been told yet that coal has been rebranded as “clean coal”.
With “clean coal”, black lung disease is a thing of the past.
We now have “clean lung” disease to go along with “clean coal”.


When these people voted for Bevin and Yertle, what were they thinking??? They had plenty of warning of what kind of people these two are, but they voted for them anyhow! Someone needs to ask them why they voted the way they did.

A. Please don’t malign the real Yertle.

B. Once a legislator gets a big role beyond his seat (chairs, speakering, …) they have additional fuel for maintaining incumbency. People love seeing their guy on the news. Go team!

Voter apathy is high here in Kentucky, because years of neolib/neocon candidates from the Duopoly who do nothing for the people have ensured a sense of powerlessness and hopelessness from the electorate. As it is, I will only be voting for three candidates this November: Jill Stein; Nancy Jo Kemper, a progressive running for Andy Barr’s House of Reps seat; and Rita Smart, an incumbent progressive in the state legislature. Jim Gray, former mayor of Lexington, is running against Senator Rand Paul, who I would dearly like to see unemployed, but Gray is another neolib war hawk in the mold of Clinton, so I am skipping that race. One can find progressives willing to run for office, but when the Duopoly establishment has a stranglehold on the political process, progressive candidates who actually make the “finals” aren’t real thick on the ground here.

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